ON THE PITCH

Soccer Recap: Dynamo outmuscle Zlatan’s LA Galaxy, El Clasico ends in 2-2 draw

El Campo, TX native Memo Rodriguez (right) scored in the 90th minute to give Houston Dynamo a 3-2 win over the LA Galaxy. Houston Dynamo

With 37 days left until the 2018 FIFA World Cup, European club action inches closer to the end of the season. On this side of the pond, the action begins to heat up in Major League Soccer during the regular season and in playoff action in Liga MX.

Here is the week that was in soccer:

UEFA Champions League

The final is set for the 2017/18 edition of the UEFA Champions League.

Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid - the winningest club in the history of the competition with 12 titles - return to the final looking for their third consecutive Champions League trophy. In the knockout stage of this tournament, Madrid has eliminated the league leaders in France (PSG), Italy (Juventus) and now Germany (Bayern Munich). Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich opened the scoring in the second leg - as he did in the first leg the previous week - to give the Bavarians hope. A double by Real forward Karim Benzema, one goal being a major gaffe by the goalkeeper, was exactly what Los Blancos needed to see out a result and win the series. James Rodriguez - a Madrid player on loan to Bayern - scored the tying goal for the Germans in the 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu.

In the other series, Liverpool were able to see out the second leg in Rome to advance to their first Champions League final since 2007. Needing at least three goals, Roma delivered the offense they needed but it’s the two goals allowed on defense that see them eliminated.

Final: Saturday, May 26 in Kiev, Ukraine

UEFA Europa League

Atletico Madrid and Marseille booked their spots in the Europa League final after winning their semifinal series. The Madrid club eliminated Arsenal to deny them an opportunity at the coveted Champions League spot. Atleti carried their 1-1 first leg draw to a 1-0 win in the second leg. The other tie was more wide open as extra time was needed after teams drew 2-2 over 180 minutes. Rolando’s goal in the 116th minute of the second leg gave Marseille the score they needed to reach the final in Lyon.

Final: Wednesday, May 16 in Lyon, France

Premier League

Former Houston Dynamo Geoff Cameron may have to find a new club next season as Stoke City become the first Premier League side to be relegated this season. A 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace was the nail in the coffin to a forgettable season for the Potters. West Bromwich Albion, on the other hand, bought themselves some time as they stave off relegation - for the moment - with a 1-nil upset over Tottenham. Swansea City is third from the bottom after a 1-nil loss to Bournemouth while Southampton barely squeaks out of the relegation zone with a 1-1 draw at Everton.

At the top of the table, it is confirmed that the top seven have secured European action next season. What is yet to be confirmed Burnley (#7) and Arsenal (#6) will play in the Europa League while Liverpool (#3), Tottenham (#4) and Chelsea (#5) continue to fight it out for the two remaining Champions League spots. Should Liverpool win the Champions League final, all three sides would see Champions League action next season but that won’t be known after the Premier League season has concluded. In the meantime, Chelsea picked up three points with a 1-0 win over Liverpool.

Top 5: Manchester City* (94), Manchester United (77), Liverpool (72), Tottenham (71), Chelsea (69)

La Liga

While this may have been the Clasico with the lowest stakes in recent memory - being that Barcelona have clinched the league title - it still delivered the chipiness and rugged nature of the biggest rivalry in soccer. Barça played the second half with 10-men as Sergi Roberto was red carded in first half stoppage time. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi traded goals with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to deliver a 2-2 affair, keeping Barcelona undefeated with three matches left to play.

The top four sides have clinched Champions League action next season with Real Betis, the current fifth place team, securing European competition as well. Betis’ goal is to stave off sixth place Villareal (two points behind) to finish in fifth and hope for a Real Madrid win in the Champions League final to assure them a spot in Europe’s premier club competition. Betis did themselves no favors by losing 2-0 at Bilbao. Villareal won 1-0 over Valencia to give themselves a shot at the Champions in case of a Madrid win in the final.

Top 5: FC Barcelona* (87), Atletico Madrid (75), Real Madrid (72), Valencia (67), Real Betis (59)

Bundesliga

Hamburg is in trouble as a 3-0 loss to Eintracht locks them in to the relegation zone. While not officially relegated, Hamburg will at best have to participate in the relegation playoffs. Wolfsburg and Freiburg, the next two teams from the bottom to the top, also lost this weekend. After being eliminated from the Champions League, Bayern Munich went back to winning in the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win over last place Cologne. Dortmund and Hoffenheim, the third and fourth placed teams in the table, lost while Bayer Leverkusen fought to a scoreless draw with Werder Bremen. The top two have secured Champions League next season while Dortmund, Hoffenheim and Bayer fight for the remaining two UCL spots.

Top 5: FC Bayern Munich* (84), Schalke 04 (60), Dortmund (55), Hoffenheim (52), Bayer Leverkusen (52)

Serie A

Juventus won 3-1 over Bologna on Saturday to set themselves up for another Serie A title with a Napoli loss on Sunday. Napoli were able to avoid that heartbreak with a 2-2 draw against Torino. Being that a league title may be inevitable, Juventus must set the league aside for a moment as they face A.C. Milan in the cup final on Wednesday. This could mean that Juve may have clinched the double by the end of the week as they only need one point in league play next weekend.

Hellas Verona was the second team confirmed to be relegated to Serie B after a 4-1 loss at Milan. Inter secured at least a Europa League spot for next season with a 4-0 win at Udinese as they continue to push for the Champions League.

Top 5: Juventus (91), Napoli (85), Roma (73), Lazio (71), Inter Milan (69)

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain are just going through the motions, having already clinched the league and looking towards the cup final on Tuesday, as they draw 2-2 at 13th place Amiens SC. Lyon picked up a 3-0 win over Troyes, Monaco won 2-0 at Caen and Europa League finalist Marseille picked up three points in a 2-1 win over Nice. Rennes picked up a big win, 2-1 over Strasbourg, to jump back into fifth place.

Top 5: Paris Saint-Germain* (92), Lyon (75), Monaco (74), Marseille (73), Rennes (54)

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Major League Soccer

Week 10 in MLS meant a trip to the top of the table for the surging Atlanta United as they picked up a 2-1 win at the Chicago Fire. NYCFC dropped to second in the East after a humiliating 4-0 loss in the Hudson River Derby, the rivalry match between the two New York area clubs. Orlando City picked up a franchise-record sixth straight win after a 3-1 dismantling of Real Salt Lake while the Crew and Revolution earned a draw and loss respectively.

In the West, Kansas City and LAFC remain at the the top with home results. The Houston Dynamo picked up another home win in front of a sold out BBVA Compass Stadium crowd of 22,320. Homegrown midfielder Memo Rodriguez scored in the 90th minute to deliver the 3-2 win over a star-studded LA Galaxy side that featured Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mexico national team players Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos. The Dynamo travel to Vancouver for a Friday showdown with the Whitecaps team that will be looking to rebound from a 1-0 loss at Minnesota.

East Top 6: Atlanta United (22), NYCFC (20), Orlando City (19), NY Red Bulls (15), Columbus Crew SC (15), New England Revolution (14)

West Top 6: Sporting KC (20), LAFC (16), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (13), FC Dallas (13), Minnesota United FC (12), Houston Dynamo (11)

Liga MX

The field of eight was cut down to four after home-and-home series in the Liga MX quarterfinals. Last year’s finalists Tigres and Monterrey were both eliminated, meaning the final will also present the two other teams that will qualify to the CONCACAF Champions League. Club America dismantled Mexico City rival Pumas, 4-1 at their place and then 2-1 at home. Tijuana and Monterrey tied 1-1 in the first leg before the ‘Xolos’ delivered a 2-1 win on the road. Tigres earned a 2-0 home win over Santos but suffered the opposite faith in the second leg. The defending champions were eliminated on the 2-2 aggregate due to the tiebreaker that favors the higher seeded team to advance. The same tiebreaker came into play in the Toluca-Monarcas series as that tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

Semifinal matchups: (1) Toluca vs. (6) Tijuana, (2) Club America vs. (4) Santos Laguna

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National Women’s Soccer League

This week in the NWSL there was a shift with the top four spots in the standings - the qualifying spots for the playoffs. North Carolina remained at the top with a 1-1 draw on Sunday against Chicago. Seattle Reign moved to second with a 3-2 win at rival Portland Thorns. The Utah Royals picked up their first win in a 2-0 home win over the Washington Spirit while the Houston Dash also picked up their first win - and first under Head Coach Vera Pauw - with a 3-2 win at Sky Blue FC in New Jersey.

Top 4: North Carolina Courage (17), Seattle Reign (10),  Chicago Red Stars (10), Portland Thorns (8)

Liga MX Femenil

The first year of top women’s soccer league in Mexico ended in a historic final between Monterrey clubs Tigres and Rayadas. As it happened last December between their male counterparts, Tigres was victorious over their crosstown rivals by lifting the cup at their stadium. The two leg final was also historic because the second leg set a worldwide attendance record of 51,211 for a women’s club match. Tigres won the first leg, 2-0 at home, and finished 4-2 on aggregate after the 2-2 draw in the second leg.

Upcoming matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, May 8:

1:45 p.m. - [Premier League] Swansea vs. Southampton (NBC Sports)

2 p.m. - [Coupe de France final] Les Herbiers vs. Paris Saint-Germain (beIN Sports)

Wednesday, May 9:

1 p.m. - [La Liga] FC Barcelona vs. Villarreal (beIN Sports)

1:45 p.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Huddersfield (NBC Sports)

2 p.m. - [Coppa Italia final] Juventus vs. A.C. Milan (GolTV)

3 p.m. - [La Liga] Sevilla vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

6:30 p.m. - [MLS] Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC (FS1)

7 p.m. - [NWSL] Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns (go90/NWSLsoccer.com)

Thursday, May 10:

1:45 p.m. - [Premier League] West Ham vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports)

7:30 p.m. - [Liga MX Playoffs] Santos Laguna vs. Club America (Univision Deportes)

9:30 p.m. - [Liga MX Playoffs] Tijuana vs. Toluca (Univision Deportes)

Friday, May 11:

9:30 p.m. - [MLS] Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Houston Dynamo (KUBE 57)

Saturday, May 12:

11:30 a.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. Celta (beIN Sports)

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy (Univision/Twitter)

7 p.m. - [NWSL] Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash (go90/NWSLsoccer.com)

Sunday, May 13:

9 a.m. - [Premier League] All Premier League matches of the final day of the season will air simultaneously across the NBC family of networks (NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, Telemundo, Universo, USA, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, SyFy, Oxygen, Olympic Channel)

1:45 p.m. - [Serie A] Roma vs. Juventus (beIN Sports)

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Levante vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports Español)

12 p.m. - [Liga MX Playoffs] Toluca vs. Tijuana (Univision Deportes)

3 p.m. - [MLS] Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC (ESPN)

5 p.m. - [MLS] Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United (FS1)

7 p.m. - [Liga MX Playoffs] Club America vs. Santos Laguna (Univision Deportes)

7:30 p.m. - [MLS] LAFC vs. New York City FC (FS1)

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After the big offensive showing to take the opener on Thursday, the Astros entered Friday's game at Globe Life Field against the Rangers just one win or Angels loss away from securing their spot in the playoffs. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 5, Astros 4.

Record: 29-29, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 1.98 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-3, 3.05 ERA).

Urquidy goes seven while allowing two

The Rangers would strike first in Friday's game, getting a two-out solo home run against Jose Urquidy in the bottom of the second to grab the early 1-0 lead. Urquidy did relatively well on the night, though he would allow another solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Those were the only two runs he allowed, working in and out of some trouble throughout the game on his way to finishing seven innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 98 P.

Houston grabs their first lead late

Unlike their hot night at the plate the night prior, it took the Astros until the fifth inning to get on the board. It came after Carlos Correa hit a leadoff single, then came all the way around to score on an RBI-triple by George Springer, making it a 1-1 tie at the time.

After the Rangers went back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on their second solo homer of the night, Alex Bregman would tie it up again with a solo home run of his own, making it 2-2. Houston would get their first lead of the night in the top of the eighth, with Altuve working a leadoff walk before scoring later in the inning on an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel.

Rangers get the walk-off to keep Houston waiting for playoff bid

After Urquidy, Blake Taylor would take over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the Rangers in order for a scoreless inning to hold the one-run lead. Still 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Houston turned to their closer, Ryan Pressly. After two quick outs, he would allow a game-tying solo home run, making it 3-3 to postpone Houston's celebration at least another inning as the game headed to extras.

In the top of the tenth, Jose Altuve was placed on second as the free runner. He advanced to third on a groundout to start the inning, then scored on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it a 4-3 lead for Houston. Enoli Paredes would load the bases before Texas would tie the game on a sac fly in the bottom of the inning, keeping runners on second and third. Houston made the change to Brooks Raley to try and extend the game another inning, but instead, the Rangers would get the walk-off win, spoiling Houston's chance to clinch their playoff spot themselves with a win.

Up Next: The third game of this four-game set will get underway at 6:05 PM Central on Saturday. On the mound for Texas will be Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87 ERA), and, as of now, the Astros still have Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA) listed as their starter.

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